Tag Archives: Damon Stoudamire

Mark Lyons is Not Struggling. Niet.

Over the weekend the Arizona Wildcats took Texas Tech behind the woodshed and beat them. It’s the same treatment, to date, they’ve been giving to the nation’s 294th toughest schedule.

Yes, these ‘Cats have played no one. Their “toughest” game to date was arguably that Red Raiders squad and they were 4-0 against the worst schedule in the country. In and of itself, Arizona’s woeful schedule is a conversation. But these opponents were pieced together by design, a component of the rebuilding Sean Miller had to do when he inherited a near disaster of a program. In the coming years, there will be marquee games littering the November and December slate before embarking upon an increasingly competitive Pac-12 season.

Whilst on this cake walk, the Arizona dialogue has not been able to evolve much beyond speculation and hype. The freshmen are good, Nick Johnson has improved, Solomon Hill is doing his thing. Pretty much nothing new.

And so now I’m starting to see people harping on Mark Lyons’ struggles. This is trolling. This is hunting for a conversation. It’s straight Limbaugh, Cowherd, Bayless – creating controversy out of thin air. I read about it in the Arizona Daily Wildcat and the Arizona Daily Star. To this I say NIET! No struggling. Struggling to me would mean bad things are happening and I don’t see much negative in the cardinal and navy jersey number two. Now to be fair, each of these pieces have elements of praise for Lyons’ performance but I question what the barometer is. If Josiah Turner set the Arizona PG bar, Lyons is a legend. If Damon Stoudamire set it, well, Lyons has some work to do. Alas, to say the senior has struggled is far from realistic.

Has he turned the ball over? Absolutely. His turnover rate is hovering just below 30% and that’s not good and I’m not going to dwell there.

Because did you know Mark Lyons has the 69th highest effective field goal percentage in the nation? The number itself is 63.8%. Remember Derrick Williams and how we lauded his efficiency? Williams’ eFG% was 65%. How’s that for efficient company? And so while Lyons has been inefficient taking care of the ball, when he does hang on to it, he’s doing good things. Efficiency is a mark of how well you repeatedly do something. I’ll argue Mark Lyons is an efficient winner.

It’s been no secret that he can score and is it really a requirement that a point guard lead the nation in assists? I don’t think so. I think he’s supposed to facilitate the offense. Arizona is the eighth best offensive team in the country (as determined by KenPom’s AdjO). To that point, Arizona on the whole is bigger than its parts. As a team, the Wildcats assist on 65% of their made field goals. If passing is what you want, you’re getting it. Maybe not from Lyons as much you’d like but then it simply becomes a semantics conversation. True point guard, two guard, slasher, combo guard; call him whatever you want. I’m going to call him good.

These are some gaudy numbers I’ve thrown out here in an argument that is really in its infancy. Arizona could open a trendy, chic pastry shop called Walk with all the cupcakes they’ve got. The sample set is minimal and can really only be used to begin letting us examine trends. To that, I’ll say its fair to notice Lyons’ turnovers.

But to say he’s struggling is an overstatement and undeserving.

Pac-12 Fantasy Draft: Team PacHoops’ Guards

The decision maker, the guy with the ball in his hand, the one who’s making critical plays at critical moments, those are the game changers. The ones who can – with equal skill – hit the big three or find the right guy to do such.

Guard play, perhaps above all else, determines championship caliber teams and the Pac-12 has been chock full of some greats. Run up and down some of the other rosters I’m competing against in this Fantasy Draft and you’re reminded that the Conference of Champions has produced Walt Hazzard, Gary Payton, and Jason Kidd. Woof.

But this draft wasn’t about scoring an individual. If that were the case we’d have handed this thing over to Andy over at Building the Dam once he picked Lew Alcindor. It was about compiling a squad and you’re about to be treated to the deepest guard corps. Ever.

Stoudamire, Bibby, Dickerson, Stoudamire

 

Damon Stoudamire, Arizona, 1991-95

  • Home: Portland, Oregon. Woodrow Wilson HS
  • Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 apg
  • Best Year: 22ppg, 4rpg, 7apg
  • Brag sheet: 1995 Pac-10 POY, 7th pick in 1995 NBA Draft
  • Mighty Mouse could utterly fill the tin. He was quicker than Wyatt Earp on the draw and just as tough. You kinda have to be if you’re going to be a sub-six foot lottery pick. And sure, he may have been a contributing member to the Jailblazers but you know what? After attending rehab and probably some long looks in the mirror, Stoudamire took a bet with columnist Jay Canzano that the sportswriter could piss test him whenever he wanted. So when Canzano showed up pre-game with a cup for Damon to fill, he did it and passed the test. THC free. I built this team on talent but some accountability certainly never hurt a contender either.

Mike Bibby, Arizona, 1996-98

  • Home: Phoenix, Arizona. Shadow Mountain HS
  • Stats: 15ppg, 3rpg, 5apg
  • Best Year: 17ppg, 3rpg, 6apg
  • Brag Sheet: 1998 Pac-10 POY, 1997 NCAA Champion, 2nd pick in 1998 NBA Draft
  • I’ll write a lot of brag-worthy things whilst waxing poetic about this team I’ve compiled but none holds more clout than “NCAA Champion.” Bibby hoisted the hardware and cut down the nets as a freshman. He then went on to earn POY honors on a team where he wasn’t even the leading scorer; a fact I don’t quite know what to do with but it probably means people thought pretty highly of his value to a basketball team. So I wanted him on my team.

Michael Dickerson, Arizona, 1994-98

  • Home: Kent, Washington. Federal Way HS
  • Stats: 14ppg, 4rpg, 2apg
  • Best Year: 19ppg, 5rpg, 2apg
  • Brag Sheet: 1997 NCAA Champion, 14th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft
  • Remember how I told you NCAA Champion was the most baller thing I could tell you about someone? Dickerson’s got that. He also just happens to be the same Cat (pun intended) who outscored the ’98 Pac-10 POY (Bibby) and who had the smoothest, most effortless game of any Wildcat. Ever. He may have spoke softly but when it came to putting the ball in the basket, he was real loud.

Salim Stoudamire, Arizona, 2001-05

  • Home: Portland, Oregon. Lake Oswego HS
  • Stats: 15ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
  • Best Year: 18ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
  • Brag Sheet: Better three point shooter than JJ Reddick
  • The cousin of my first guard selected (Damon), Salim is going to make any All-Time Favorite Wildcats list that I make and he probably should make yours too because of his Brag Sheet item. You’ll recall JJ-mania over the same four years Salim played and so you just had a visceral reaction when you read his name. Well know that in 2005, Salim shot greater than 50% from three-point land. Do you want to swallow the comparison? Ok, JJ’s best year was .421. Meh, solid, not hyperbole good. Salim.